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Pataquines and Fondation of Ifá

Pataquines and Fondation of Ifá

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Pataquines and Fondation of Ifá

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518 pages
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Jul 24, 2019


The present volume begins this way, which submerges us in that universe of traditions bearing an invaluable testimonial value, repositories of solid documental support (they have been extracted from books of Ifá), where the reader will be able to find wisdom, depth ideas, useful advice, interpretation of the ancestral issue; a very peculiar philoso
Jul 24, 2019

About the author

ROGELIO GÓMEZ NIEVES (La Habana, 1973). Durante años ha estudiado con profundidad todo lo referente a los cultos africanos y su repercusión en nuestro país. Tiene publicado Pataquines y fundamentos de Ifá.

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Pataquines and Fondation of Ifá - Rogelio Gómez

Translation: Lissette de Armas Ramos

Edition and correction: Irene Hernández Álvarez

Ebook edition: Ana Molina González

Cover design and bound: Enrique Hernández Gómez

© Rogelio Gómez Nieves, 2016

© Present edition:

Ediciones Cubanas, Artex, 2016

ISBN: 978-959-7230-92-2

Ediciones Cubanas Artex

5ta. Ave. esq. a 94, Miramar, Playa


Phone: (53) 7204-5492, 7204-2506, 7204-4132

Índice de contenido

Introductory Note1

Story of the coconuts2

The snake3


Baracoyí and Okuní5

Why the rooster is killed7

Story of the goat of Obatalá8

Story of Oggún and Ochosi9

The daughter of the King10

The meal of Obatalá11

Oddí: sun, water and earth12

Why Elegguá is a prince13

Where the male goat is sacrificed for the first time14

The agreement between Orishaoko and Olofi15

Story of Obe Tumatún16

Walls have ears17

Why Orula eats hens18

When Olofi wanted to leave the earth19

Olofi and the children20

The lion, king of the jungle21

The head without body22

The reception of Olofi23

The deal between the earth and death24

The day and his rival, the night25

When the body was tired of carrying the head26

The red rose27

The hourglass, the day andthe night were born28

When Eshu taught Orula to use the adivination oracle30

The buzzard is sacred and the ceiba tree is divine31

Oyá, the mistress of cemeteries34

The lion and men35

When Odduduwa gained the confidence of Olofi36

The mistake of Shangó and Oshún of living with their families37

Curiosity is punished38

The head of mud39

When Shangó had to recognize Orishaoko40

When the crab killed the snake41

When Oshún got sick43

When Orishaoko married Olokun44

Oshún, apetebi of Orula45

Where the impossible things are solved47

The betrayal of the male goat to the dog48

The scorpion49

When Oshún ate hens for first time50

The doves51

The war between the horse and the bread fruit52

The read legs53

The poisoned fruit54

Why Oshún eats capon goat55

The goat breaking a drum, pay with his skin56

The youngest babalawo, predicted57

The complete things58

The three branch sticks59

Where two-faced Eshu Ni Elegba was born60

When the father forgave his son61

The liar became king62

The way of the dog63

When the sacrifice of animals started64

Why Elegba doesn't eat big goats65

Orula always does something for women66

Where the chain of the monkey comes into live and piglets are roasted67

When the body gets uncontrolable68

Where Obbá destested the humankind and got into the wood69

Shangó gave back the joy to Olofi70

The envy was his guide71

When Olofi gave Orula the world to rule it72

The secret of the eternal life73

The salesman of tools74

When the writing came into the world75

When the world knew the fish79

The debt of the red roosters of Shangó81

The scandalous neighbors of Obatalá82

The appeasement of Shangó83

The horse and the wild boar84

The greedy dog85

When Obatalá ate without salt87

Don't leave the children in other people's care88

The stevedore and Obatalá89

When the poplar saved Shangó90

Why the Iyawó goes to the river and picks a stone up there91

The three wishes of the blacksmith92

The incredulous woman93

The general of the king94

The creation of the family95

The son of the one-eyed bird96

Shangó transfered his town government to Orula97

The heads of the rivers98

When it was born the first time that the woman had her period99

The scream of the hyena was born100

The disobedient man101

If you keep your mouth shut, you won't put your foot in it102

The sparrow, the bull and the cow105

The intelligence of the little bird106

The merchant and the parrot107

The arrogant king108

The good-hearted merchant109

Be patient110

The society of the three friends111

The allotment of the positions that made Olofi in the earth112

The carrier pigeon113

The hair and the meat114

Who is called Rosario?116

The way of the fisherman117

The scaffold118

Why people put shoes on119

The spring and the flowers120

Where Obatalá abandoned his children121

It is born to write the patakines of Ifá122

The way of the gray hairs123

Death Abanlá, the jackal124

The chameleon and the son of Olofi125

The marriage was born126

The person's conscience127

It was born the trap and the lie129

It is born the mislead of the sight and the clouds130

The blacksmith and the belows131

The lesson of Oggún132

The depraved daughters of Obatalá133

The machete134

The ox and the dog135

Why the hen pecks up136

When the mouth killed the head137

The way of the two soldiers138

The fisherman's luck139

The captive bird140

The lazy dog141

How the cockroach continued ruling142

Oggún, the faithful servant143

Oshún eats with Orula144

Aggayú and Odduduwa145

When Yemayá began to consult people146

The mosquito, the flea and the boa147

The cotton harvester148

The electric bulb was born150

The despised man151

The rabbit, the dog and the worm152

The birth of the aguardiente153

The way of the dragons154

Oshún saved Olofi's sons155

The salesman of gandingas156

Oshún and Orula157

The buzzard and her enemies158

Shangó gave up his responsibility159

The cooking art was born160

Obatalá took over the heads162

The chameleon and the dog163

Elegba achieves what he sets out to do164

When the good things lived with the bad ones165

Orula becomes rich167

The disobedient fisherman168

The balcony and the window169

Why the dog and the cat are enemies170

The white elephant171

The donkey and the tiger172

Bad son, bad father, bad husband and bad friend173

Once a year, it happens174

The indiscreet rooster175

The crown of the rooster176

The criminal and the princess177

The careless hen178

Shangó, the baker179

Blood is thicker than water180

The war between the bees and the wasps181

How Shangó and Yemayá survived182

You can neither protest nor to renounce183

If you don't advertise your merchandise, you won't sell them184

The goose that lays the golden eggs185

Aggayú, the king186

The appearances can be deceptive187

The melon188

The cricket189

Orula advises Obatalá190

The faithful dog191

The father's respect for the son192

The thief of fruits193

The woodpecker194

The clean kingdom196

The infection of leprosy197

Obatalá changed the white clothes for the black ones198

The son never scratches the father199

The bee and the woodworm200

The feather of the parrot201

Put the blame on the Cuban blackbird202

The great sacrifice of love203

The bee and the wasp

(The bad advice)204

Obatalá and the breeding of rabbits205.

The well and the plum tree206

The damselfly and the tarantula207

When Oshún lived satisfied with Eshu, Oggún and Orula208

When Elegba became a one-eyed man209

The fish born in the river grows up at sea and returns to the river to die210

When Oggún and Osain asked for forgiveness to Olokun211

The boy and the fierce animal212

Why the goose is white213

Story of the two hutias214

It was born the respect among Shangó, Oyá and Oggún215

When Oyá lived a life of sexual licentiousness216

When the rooster laughed at the ferret217

The buzzard and the hawk218

The young hunter and the old one, the doubt of the moral219

The violent wise man220

Olofi blessed the duck221

The ram and the dog222

Yemayá discredits Orula223

Obatalá and their kettledrum224

When Shangó lived with Oyá225

Oggún couldn't carried out the command of Olofi226

When Ochosi was named king227

The birth, in the blood, of the red globules228

Where the pigeon got Shangó sick229

The cotton and the birds230

The horse231

The secret of the war between Oshún and Obá232

The turtle and the deer233

The poor man, the clay large jar and the farmer234

The tiger could not eat up the male goat (brain is better than brawn)235

The incredulous man236

Orula and Oshún eat together237

The way of the rainbow238

The way of the two women239

The giant lion and the red parakeet240

The birds govern one year241

The much you have, the much you worth242

The song of the frogs243

The disobedience of the butterfly244

Olofi's granary245

The bat246

When the owl was crowned queen247

The chair248

The abortion and the menstruation249

The mouse, the bear's enemy250

The curse and the butterfly251

The talkative bird252

Talking too much can be dangerous253

The hand fingers were born254

Shangó stole from Olofi255

The war between the flies and the spiders256

The old man and the outlaws257

Orula's word never falls on the ground258

The blind man and the lame one259

For being a miserable and niggardly person, he lost everything260

The coin bank was born261

The way of the orangutans262

The crab and his head263

The intelligence wins264

Here it was where the Ibeyis defeated the Devil265

It is missing strength to support the body266

Why Osain has a nasal voice267

The birth of the knife edge268

When the mosquito was king269

The black pearl270

When Oggún and Ochosi seduced Shangó's woman271

The peacock's colors272

The human beings's sacrifice was over273

Why the trees can't be pruned every year274

The goose's punishment275

Why some oranges are sour and another ones sweet276

Why the ground acquires the power277

What the land gives us is eaten by her278

The ants help Orula279

Shangó gets rid of an impostor280

The eggplant, the okra and the tomato281

How Orula saved her harvests282

Losing is winning283

Cursing the toad284

The cuban female grassquit's love285

Due to the turtle the world got exchange brains286

The more you talk, the more mistakes you'll make287

The disputes between Shangó and Obatalá288

The nocturnal butterfly289

The dispute between the sun and the wind290

Be yourself291

The cardinal bird292

The leprosy contagion was born293


Introductory Note


¹ There have been respected entirely the prose used as well as the colloquial and conversational tone in each story with the purpose of preserving the authenticity of the patakínes, though it results pedestrian in occasions. There have been done only the necessary grammatical and written style corrections in order to have the texts well understood, in an appropriate way, in all its magnitude. (N. of the E.)

Patakínes are just stories, morals, legends, and parables; oral and written narratives that we have inherited from our African ancestors. These date back to ancient times like the world itself and have certain links with all what exist —animals, plants, human beings and even the orishas themselves—. These stories are transmitted by Ifá priests, olúos, babalawos, obbás, oriatés, iyaloshas, and etc., by means of cowry shells, odduns or Ifá signs; actually, many of these patakínes are included in the popular speech and we take their wise advices. They are the most important part of the consultations made by iyaloshas and babalawos due to the fact that they are red and interpreted for both, from them emerge what the saints and orishas want to tell us or show us and, although many of them are alike, none have the same meaning. The main point is the interpretation we are able to make and bring to our daily life.

There is infinity of legends lost or, rather, our ancestors have ta­ken with them to the grave, depriving us of so appreciated traditions; some others, instead, have been kept and survived up today; but, unfortunately, they are not transmitted as before. Some time ago, these legends were learned by heart; so, the consultants understood the predictions of deities very well.

I have taken the liberty to select and extract some of those patakínes that I have seen reflected in the books of Ifá, and in certain way, have called my attention due to their deep and wisdom ideas, and so, I would like to share them with the readers.

The Author

Story of the coconuts


² Cecilio Pérez: Story of the coconut, p. 24. (The notes are from the author, except whe is expressed).

One of the lesser known orishas in the Yoruba religion is Obi, symbolizing the coconut: santeros oracle and creation of Oloddumare, father of all the orishas.

When this orisha passed through the earth in his first life, Oloddumare gave him a very high place in his kingdom. Obi was white on the outside and white on the inside, meaning his purity of character, free of vanity and pride. He had so much charm that gained the res­pect of the persons who enjoyed the earth at that time. Obi had the respect of all his brothers and was known not only for his skill in the oracle, but also for his fairness and impartiality. He received at home both, the poor and the rich. So was the development of this orisha and as time went by, Obi became more famous.

Important people came to see him from faraway lands, with pre­sents of great value, in accordance with the fame he had acquired. One day, after some time went past, Elegguá, who was his ­brother, visited him. Obi received him with enthusiasm in his new and nice house, happy that Elegguá saw him surrounded by the fruits of his ­labor; but Elegguá was not enjoying this visit. Sitting next to his brother, who wore a white, simple robe, Elegguá realized that Obi cared too not to stain his white silk robe and his conversation was about friends of importance. Suddenly, the visit was interrupted by the sound of someone knocking on the door. While Obi was atten­ding, Elegguá was just thinking how much his brother had changed, who he had always admired.

Obi, upset and indignant, went back to the room where he had been, asking Elegguá:

—¿Do people realize on my importance?

He continued with his hands in the air:

—What will my friends think if they see I'm talking to the beggar that I have just said to leave?

Elegguá, who had stud up in astonishment, could not stand it and left the house of Obi. He sought his father, who was Obatalá, and after lying in front of him respectfully, told him what had happened there. Obatalá heard his son in silence and, after several days, showed up at Obi's home.

On that occasion, by coincidence, Obi had a great party to which he had invited all the influential people of his town. Obatalá, dressed as a beggar, knocked on the door and again Obi was angry, forbidding him the entrance to his house, and far from it, this day of festi­vities. At slamming the door, stopped him a powerful sound and, immediately, Obi recognized the voice of his father. Quickly, he opened the door and knelt trembling at the feet of Obatalá, who did not let him talk and said:

—You let pride and vanity control yourself, and therefore you do not deserve the place that you have in my kingdom —Obi listened without looking at him—. From now until the end of time, you will no longer dress in white, you will be black on the outside and you'll roll on the floor so that you keep yourself white on the inside.

The sky clouded over and everything was silent, except the resound of the thunders. Obatalá, with austere voice, continued:

—You'll be the oracle of the other orishas and you'll never talk; only they could do it through you.

The snake


³ Ibidem, The snake, p. 31.

The snake was a man like everyone else, but one day he felt ill. That's why, he went to be consulted through the Ifá oracle and it came out that a rogation should be done because he was coming down a bad disease; but, he ignored the advice and the referred rogation was not performed. Short time later, he contracted a rash over his whole body and, as a result of it, dropped his arms and legs.

Then, he sent his wife to consult him again and it came out that he had to take two bunches of coconuts and four pigeons on each hand to the roadside, where Obatalá would pass, to get better the illness.

However, as he had neither legs nor hands, he understood that such rogation could not be done either, as it happened; so, he stood creeping for life.


⁴ Ibidem, Okana, p. 31.

At the beginning of the creation of the universe, when there was almost something done, Olofi called all the wise men to take part in the great task of life and peoples would be erected on the face of the earth. It was when many people believed that the way they were living was well, so each one put the most convenient difficulties in Olofi's way and everything were obstacles and problems to carry out the good work proposed by him.

So it happened that, when all the wises understood that it was impossible to execute those works, and Olofi considered himself almost defeated, a spirit appeared to him (Grillelú) and advised:—Olofi, to carry out all your work, you must sacrifice one hundred-one pigeons as a necessary ebbó, to purify the blood of different phenomena that are disturbing the goodwill of the other spirits.

At hearing the words warned by the spirit, the legs of Olofi failed, because the life of the pigeons was linked to Oloddumare and Olofi himself. However, he stated:

—There is no choice but for the sake of my children.

And for the first time, pigeons were sacrificed. The spirit, that made the suggestion to Olofi, guided him through all the places where he had to drop the pigeons' blood, to purify everything and do what Olofi wanted, which was nothing more than the will of Oloddumare.

When it was over, Olofi called that great spirit and decreed:

—You have helped me and I bless your work forever, from now on you will be recognized by the name of Grillelú.

Baracoyí and Okuní

⁵ Cecilio Pérez, Baracoyí y Okuní, p. 46.

They were two friends that were always together, in laughter and tears, at parties and in the hard times that men have in life.

Baracoyí was practical, a little straight in his affairs, never cared or noticed other people's problems, for him, the truth and pride were repugnant. In shortly, modesty was his main virtue.

Instead, Okuní was the opposite of his friend, a grumpy, quarrelsome, selfish, unhappy and immodest man.

One day Baracoyí and Okuní talked on the bad situation that they were going through and it seemed like destiny, the two men had, between them, no more than ten cents in their pockets, then, it occurred to Baracoyí to tell his friend Okuní:

—I have an idea.

—What is that brilliant idea? —asked Okuní.

—To do ebbó with the money we have, perhaps Olofi could help us.

To which Okuní, that put obstacles and pretexts for all, replied:

—No man, because Mofá, is not going to do ebbó to us for ten cents.

—Let's try —Baracoyí said.

Okuní contradicted:

—Well, you go to do it and I'll buy something to eat, because I'm very hungry.

Then, Okuní did it; he bought five cents of bread rolls and ate them. Instead, Baracoyí went to Orula's house, talked to him and after hearing Baracoyí, Orula expressed:

—Yes, Baracoyí, I will help you.

Baracoyí did ebbó and he was advised:

—You have to leave the town to find your well-being.

Immediately, Baracoyí left the town, wandering aimlessly. Before he left, Orula called him and gave him five cents.

Baracoyí was on a strip of land, where, there was water on both sides, on one side there was a river; on the other side, sea. He took a hat to get some water out of the river and drink it because we was tired and thirsty; when he crouched down to take it, the five cents given by Mofá for the travel fell down into the water.

Baracoyí drank the water and when he finished, said:

—The five cents fell down into the river but thank God and the saints, I could come to this divine place to drink some water and having a rest.

Baracoyí slept in that place and dreamed of someone pulling his feet, throwing him in the sea and, many other infinity things that disturbed his dream. At dawn, he woke up, happy of being rested; then, he saw an old ragged and disheveled woman that stopped just next to him.

—Good morning, madam —he greeted her

—How are you, son? Did you sleep well?

—Very well.

—Did anybody disturb you in this lonely place?


—Well, son, I will help you; do you see that plant of güira⁶ over there? Take three güiras; throw the biggest one when you are leaving and don't look backward; throw another one, when you are coming in­-side the first town you find and the last one in the last place you are going to stay.

⁶ Güira(s) / güiro(s): Fruit of a tropical tree that is four or five meters high. In America, it is used to make cups, dishes, washbowls and etcetera. (N. of the T.)

So, he did it. As a result, when he threw the last güira, it contained a fortune and, it didn't take too long for him to become one of the most powerful and wealthy men over those lands. Sometime later, Baracoyí brought Mofá great gifts and avoided to meet his old friend but, anyway, they met.

These old friends, very glad, hugged each other and ate together. Okuní told Baracoyí that his situation was the same; then, Baracoyí talked to Okuní about his odyssey and assured him that everything was due to the ebbó done; Baracoyí offered him some money but this one refused it because he was proud and envious.

Okuní wanted to imitate Baracoyí, asked for ten cents and went to the house of Orula to do ebbó with five cents, but this one told him:

—You cannot do ebbó with five cents; you must pay four pesos and twenty cents.

—If I had four pesos and twenty cents, I would not even come here.

Immediately after, he left Orula's house without saying goodbye and followed the way indicated by Baracoyí. Okuní arrived to the place shown by his friend, where there was a river, sea, an old woman and the plant of güira too. Due to all what he saw, he realized that his friend did not fool him, then, he thought: I am thirsty, he crouched down to drink the water from the river and put down to sleep. Before this, he thought deeply: Well, let's see when the old witch comes.

He did not sleep well because the phenomena hampered him; when he woke up, at dawn, the old woman came.

—There, the witch is coming —he said.

When the old woman came, greeted him but he muttered. Immediately, the woman realized on what was happening but she did not say anything and asked him:

—My son, what brings you here?

—What business is it with you?

—Son, I want to help you.

—Then, help me. If you are not going to do it, don't talk to me.

—Well, son, do you see that plant of güira over there? When you are leaving, take three güiras: throw the biggest one backward, here, and don't look at it, throw the median one when you are coming in the town and throw the smallest one when you come home.

The old woman left. Okuní went out and took the three güiras, but, instead of doing what the old woman advised him, he said:

—I am going to throw away the biggest one! She believes that I am that silly.

He threw away the smallest güira, threw the median one at the entrance of the town and when coming home, he threw away the biggest one, from the güira came out a snake that leaped at his neck and killed him.

Why the rooster is killed

⁷ Ibidem, Why the rooster is killed, p. 55.

(From the discussion arisen between three persons, one is lost.)

It was the time when Elegguá and Oggún were apart and they didn't have good relationships. They always left Olofi aslept, therefore Olofi didn't trust them. The rooster, who has noticed it, thought that he could gain Olofi's confidence by using his song, as it actually ­occurred. Always alert, every time, the rooster sang when an hour was coming; so, he awaked Olofi.

Olofi recognized this and gave the rooster all his support; which, pretty short, started showing off this preference. Every day he walked through the whole palace and knew everything there.

Oggún, who hated the rooster, talked to Elegguá, to gain his sympathy:

—Hey, Elegguá, do you know what the rooster told me? Well, he said that Olofi is not serious, that he does what he pleases with the virgin there, inside the bedroom, but he pretends to be normal when he goes outside.

As soon as Oggún talked to him, Elegguá ran to meet Olofi and said:

—Olofi, Oggún stated that the rooster told him you are not serious, that you do what you please with the virgin there, inside the bedroom.

As Elegguá had seen a mummy Olofi had behind a wardrobe, he hid as well and got ready for the beginning of the confrontation between the rooster and Oggún.

Immediately, Olofi called the two of them and asked Oggún:

—Is it true the rooster said what Elegguá has just told me, that I'm not serious, that I do what I please with the virgin there, in the bedroom?

—Yes, it's true, the rooster told me that —replied Oggún.

Then, Olofi asked the rooster if it were true what Oggún said. The rooster denied all the charges against him and, at the same time, accused Elegguá and Oggún of quarrelsome and revolutionary.

Story of the goat of Obatalá

⁸ Ibidem, Story of the goat of Obatalá, p. 63.

Obatalá had a great quantity of lambs, among them; there was only a white goat like cotton, which was his favorite. Oggún was in charge of sheltering the cattle; Elegguá was the doorman of the big mansion of Obatalá; Osun was the one in charge of watching every person that visited him; that is why, Eshu, Elegguá and Oggún didn't look favora­bly at Osun.

One day, Eshu told Oggún and Elegguá:

—Do you want that Obatalá doesn't trust Osun anymore?

—Yes, but how could? —they asked.

—I have the solution. When Osun asleep, we kill and eat the goat, then we open a deep hole and bury everything that could be evidence and spread goat's blood to the mouth of Osun; afterwards, we tell Obatalá that his goat has disappeared.

Then, they killed and ate the goat, and they buried everything what could be evidence, as the leather, bows and bones… later, they went to Obatalá's and told him:

—We saw your goat entering into the yard; but, at the moment of counting the animals, we noticed she was missing.

Immediately, Obatalá called Osun, who ignored the betrayal of his best fellows in adversity and work; they, at the same time, seemed to be astonished when Osun approached them.

Obatalá asked Osun:

—Where is my goat?

—There she is, father.

—Show me, bring her to me.

Osun looked for the goat but he couldn't bring her to Obatalá because she was not among the other animals. Thus, Osun went back to see Obatalá, Elegguá and Oggún, and said:

—Your goat is not here, who knows if Oggún brought her back.

Eshu talked to him:

—Oggún did bring her back and you ate her.

Osun protested:

—hat is not true!

Elegguá got closer to him, pointed Osun's mouth and told him:

—Look, that is the evidence that you ate her!

Obatalá looked at Osun's mouth, and actually, he had stains of blood on his mouth. Osun was confused, without knowing what to say; so, he realized that his friends had betrayed him and he started to cry. Obatalá sentenced Osun:

—Your duty was to watch over the lives of everybody and you aslept. Then, you will always be stood up so you won't sleep never again, night or day.

Story of Oggún and Ochosi

⁹ Ibidem, Story of Oggún and Ochosi, p. 64.

Although Oggún knew to handle the machete pretty well, it was very hard for him to obtain food, because he saw a deer and quickly cut the forest weeds to reach it, but the noise and the time it took him, made his prey to go away, leaving him regretting not hunting it. The same happened to Ochosi, who was a great hunter, marksman of arrows and able to kill a deer but, instead, he couldn't take his prey inside the forest weeds.

Meantime, Eshu told Oggún that there was other one stronger than him; but,

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    it should be posted on documents always not like a book scribd why do you this to your members it is unfair ???? I like the book but I dont like where scribd put it does not belong where you put it as a book to read it belongs in documents thank you, Rev.Jorge E. Gonzalez Sr.